Who are we?
Otra Cosa Network is an NGO with a key focus on social development in Huanchaco, Peru and the surrounding neighbourhoods. A registered Peruvian non-profit NGO and a UK registered charity, OCN has five main projects that target different groups, these are HELP Women, HELP Youth, HELP English, HELP Literacy and HELP Environment. As well as these, Otra Cosa also has several partner projects such as Exquisipan Bakery, a local special needs school, a dog shelter, where many of our volunteers help out.
HELP English volunteers work at one of two schools around Huanchaco: Las Lomas and San Carlos. English has recently become a compulsory subject in Peru, however the responsibility was placed on schools to find English teachers, in poorer schools, children still go without, thus our volunteers are important for providing these lessons to the children as without them they would not learn English.
Our HELP Women team work at El Comodor, a canteen for women who often come from troubled backgrounds, and offer classes for these women from business classes to sewing lessons.
HELP Youth aims to provide social activities for children to keep them off the streets, such as La Rampa (the skate ramp) and the summer football club.
HELP Literacy encourages children to develop their analytical skills, through reading and writing literature and is part of the LitWorld organisation.
HELP Environment works with local university students to provide workshops in the schools to teach children about the importance of the environment. Our team also work with local businesses to fund eco-friendly projects such as providing bins along the entire stretch of Huanchaco beach.
Who are our volunteers?
Our volunteers come from a wide range of backgrounds, and from all over the world, but the one thing they all have in common is a shared want to help other people, we aim to match them up to roles where they can utilise their skills, and offer the most in their goal to help.
Otra Cosa Network is more than just an organisation, due to our size we can focus our attention on social change, and work closely with the community, our volunteers become like a family to one another, and become a part of the community they aim to help.
Many of our volunteers take on more than one role, combining office work with time helping at the dog shelter, or helping both youth and environment, however this is purely optional, we believe our volunteers should only take on as much responsibility as they can manage.
What is Huanchaco like?
Our base is in the district of Huanchaco, a part of Trujillo in the La Libertad region of Northern Peru. Huanchaco is a chilled-out town, with a strong community vibe. The two main economies here are fishing and tourism, however, it is most famous for its surfing tradition, and surfers from all over the world come here to ride these waves. As of 2013 Huanchaco is a designated World Surfing Reserve, a title which aims to protect the fishing community and surfing culture here.
What else can I do?
Outside of volunteering there is plenty to do in and around Huanchaco. Chan Chan, the largest pre-Columbian city is a short bus ride away, while El Brujo, another large pre-Columbian site is less than an hour away by bus. The rich culture that exists in this region is not limited to outside of Huanchaco, indeed the traditional pre-Incan caballito fishing boats are arguably the oldest form of surf boards, meanwhile traditional dishes such as ceviche make for a great culinary experience.
Volunteers have an abundance of activities to keep themselves busy from sand boarding to surfing, to visiting nearby archaeological sites and watching the traditional Paso horse dancing. Being right on the beach volunteers can take advantage of the many sports on offer including volleyball, football, surfing, fishing and many more.
Peru has one of oldest and richest historical cultures, when you volunteer with us, we provide time off to travel and explore the rest of Peru; we recommend Huaraz, Arequipa, Iquitos and of course Cuzco.